Internationally known peace advocate and author, Medea Benjamin

Internationally renowned peace activist and author Medea Benjamin will dig deeper into the causes of the heartbreaking war in Ukraine when she visits the West Kootenay for a Mir Lecture Series event on November 15 at the Brilliant Cultural Centre.

The co-founder of Code Pink: Women for Peace, Benjamin has been on the forefront of the peace movement in the United States for almost 50 years. A respected expert, her new book War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless War is her tenth offering and co-authored by Nicholas J. Davies. 

“Medea has been advocating for human rights and presenting alternative solutions to war for an incredible five decades,” says Jennie Barron, chair of the Mir Centre for Peace. “Her direct action and well-earned knowledge goes far beyond the volumes of dedicated work she has published. Medea has incredible stories to tell from her own lived experience all across the world. Her perspective on the war in Ukraine will provide a different look and leave those in attendance with a lot to think about.”

In War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless War, Benjamin and Davies explore beyond the headlines to look at aggressive Western encroachments that encouraged Russia’s actions. Without excusing Russia’s horribly mistaken and destructive intervention in a sovereign state, the authors insist that significant arms supply in the region will extend the suffering in a conflict which neither side is likely to emerge as a clear victor. “Continuing to arm Ukraine can only prolong a conflict that needs to be solved by diplomatic means,” Benjamin says of the argument her book. “Without such a solution, the number of Ukrainian and Russian casualties will continue to mount and the risk of serious escalation, including the possibility of nuclear conflict, will intensify.”

Raised on Long Island, New York, Benjamin has dedicated her life to social justice, peace activism and labour rights. In 2000, she made a run for the United States senate as a Green Party candidate. Her protest actions have included well-publicized moments like interrupting President Barack Obama’s major speech on the War on Terror in 2013 and Donald Trump’s 2016 acceptance speech at the National Republican Convention where she heckled and held a sign that read: “Build bridges not walls.”

Organizers of the event are looking forward to an opportunity for community engagement. “With so much instability across the globe, it’s vital to come together as we all search for ways to broaden understanding and think about what we can do as individuals to make a difference,” says Barron. “The topic is obviously dark, but Medea’s lifetime of work towards change is an inspiring example of not losing hope. When she began her work 50 years ago, the problems of that day seemed insurmountable. But every small step in the name of peace and justice helps us move forward in a way that will impact the lives of so many.”

Tickets can be purchased online at eventbrite.ca where you search “Medea Benjamin.” The lecture starts at 7 pm at the Brilliant Cultural Centre in Castlegar. Learn more about the Mir Centre for Peace at: https://selkirk.ca/mir-centre-for-peace